Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, which is consistently ranked as the healthiest diet in the world. Research shows people following a Mediterranean diet could reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease, says Dr. David Friedman, the best-selling author of “Food Sanity, How to Eat in a World of Fads and Fiction.”
Dr. Mehmet Oz, the host of the popular TV show, “The Dr. Oz Show,” and a professor in the department of surgery at Columbia University, as well as a Newsmax contributor, says that olive oil can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Oz says that researchers at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that people who consumed at least half a tablespoon of olive oil daily lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease by 15% and coronary artery disease (CAD) by 21%.
He adds that it’s best to consume extra-virgin oil which has been shown to not only reduce your risk of high blood pressure and clots, but also to reduce your risk of breast cancer. A research article published in BMC Medicine showed that people who consumed the most extra virgin olive oil, like the Italians, had a whopping 48% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality.
Olive oil contains of vitamin E, copper, iron, and calcium. It is rich in antioxidants, including oleuropein that is an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compound. It contains tyrosol that combats heart disease, oleanolic acid to improve liver function, and quercetin to lower blood pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, a type of fat that can help lower LDL, the so so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol, while maintaining HDL, the ‘good’ cholesterol,’” says Friedman, a clinical nutritionist whose clients include many well-known celebrities.
Olive oil also helps fight age-related cognitive decline because it protects against inflammation, oxidative stress, and proteins that are toxic to the brain which trigger dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, says Friedman.
While olive oil is great for making you healthy from the inside out, experts say that using it topically as the actress Sophia Loren famously did, promoting it as a skin cream, is not a good idea.
Dr. Michele Farber, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, tells Well + Good that olive oil which is rich in vitamin E makes an excellent face mask for your hair, but should not be used regularly on the skin because it can block the pores and exacerbate acne.
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